Cost of EHR Down Time

Posted on July 19, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Mark Anderson has an interesting article on Sys-con media about the cost of EHR down time. Among other analysis he makes the following assertion:
“One hour of software downtime can cost a practice almost $488.00 per physician”

EHR down time is something that I don’t think most doctors put much thought into when they are selecting an EHR. I think that putting a dollar sign next to it will help many doctors to really consider the impact of EHR down time on their clinic.

I believe it’s incredibly valuable for a clinic to seriously consider the impact of EHR down time will have on their clinic. I worked at one clinic where, while it was rather annoying, the patient care wasn’t terribly impacted by down time. They had to ask a few more questions, but in almost every case they could provide the patient care that was needed whether they had access to the EHR or not. Although, they did still have the cost of entering the data after the fact once the EHR came back. Thankfully, they never had more than a couple minutes down time at any point in the 5 years I worked with them.

The challenge of EHR down time is also greatly impacted by your choice of EHR. If you choose an in house EHR software, you’re down time planning will be very different than if you’re talking about a SaaS EHR. In fact, I think this topic is so important that I’m going to save it for a future post.

I’d be interested to hear if other people have tried to put a number on the cost of EHR down time. Did you get something similar to the $488/physician/hour that Mark Anderson suggests? If you have an EHR, how much down time have you experienced with your EHR? What were the causes of your EHR down time?